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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Amy Ullo (630) 955-2067

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

WorkNet DuPage: The Year in Review

WorkNet DuPage proudly releases its Year in Review: Unlocking Opportunity During Crisis. During a program year unlike any other, DuPage County’s workNet center established itself as a bedrock of support during an unprecedented pandemic. By adapting to the urgent needs of both job seekers and local businesses, workNet DuPage played a crucial role mitigating the economic fallout. 

Laid-off and furloughed workers turned to the Lisle-based center to participate in From Layoff to Launch, a first-of-its-kind communications program amongst workNet offices in the State of Illinois. Live weekly seminars covered everything from unemployment insurance, health care, career training, job search support, and rent assistance. 

Businesses witnessed workNet DuPage expand from its traditional role providing workforce training grants and recruitment assistance. By distributing additional funding to small companies and nonprofits, numerous entities avoided layoffs and remained open. WorkNet DuPage saved nearly 700 jobs generating a total of $36.2 million in annual wages.
 
Despite overwhelming, unforeseen disruptions, the center carried on with its primary mission: unlocking opportunities in the County’s fastest-growing industries. WorkNet DuPage awarded $2,611,641 to boost the skills of 521 job seekers mostly advancing careers in four key sectors: 42 percent of clients pursued information technology, followed by healthcare (12 percent), transportation, distribution, and logistics (11 percent), and manufacturing (10 percent). Successful job training graduates collectively earned more than $17.7 million in wages.
 
All year long, the center promoted the value of apprenticeships, most significantly, spearheading a public-private partnership to upskill regional Ford automotive technicians and combat the alarming rate of retirements among skilled diesel and auto mechanics.
 
WorkNet DuPage amplified its impact by developing key partnerships. The center joined forces with the DuPage County Health Department to augment the county’s contact tracing efforts and create jobs for individuals who lost work due to the pandemic. The center also collaborated with the DuPage County Community Services staff to offer qualified county residents rent assistance, removing potential barriers to job training. Additionally, the center strengthened alliances with organizations such as World Relief DuPage Aurora to provide job training opportunities for the community’s most vulnerable residents. As a result of the partnership, refugees and asylum seekers saw their wages increase by an average of 40 percent.

During an historic time, workNet DuPage’s unfaltering commitment to DuPage County communities continued unabated. By focusing on direct assistance to residents, new programming, and strategic partnerships, the center created momentum and established new tools to help job seekers and businesses navigate a post-pandemic economy. 

The Year in Review can be read/downloaded here.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Amy Ullo at aullo1@worknetdupage.org or (630) 955-2067.